- Post is under moderationBMW F21 120d M Sport / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 /
As I write this I only have three weeks left with the 120d, which will take me up to 11 months of ‘ownership’, so it’s a little bit of a shame that I couldn’t enjoy a full year with it but that’s just how it goes. I’m not being left in the lurch, though; as I type, my 630i has been collected from a Preston auction and is awaiting a thorough, two day detail at the hands of Ian of Lullingstone Cars (lullingstonecars.co.uk), who sourced it for me, before delivering it to me where it will begin its new life as my ‘sensible’ daily.
My E39 is also coming home after a 16 month absence and dramatic makeover, so while I will miss the 120d I will have two cars to keep me busy. If you want to follow the E63’s journey with me then you’ll have to pick up a copy of Performance BMW as it will be standard for about 30 seconds before I begin to ‘ruin it’, as Bob so amusingly puts it.
Not much to report on the 120d; it ferried myself and a photographer over to a shoot in Reading without any fuss, swallowing all of his paraphernalia with relative ease, and it proved to be as comfortable and capable a companion as it ever has been. Next month I’ll swap back to the original wheels and tyres, which will thankfully get rid of the tyre pressure warning bong, and bid it farewell with some closing thoughts, one of which is that this might well be the last diesel I ever own, which is food for thought.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE BMW F21 120d M Sport
Mileage this Month: 547
Total Mileage: 7905
MPG this Month: 54.8
Total cost: NilStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBMW-F21 / BMW-120d-M /
I took the 1 Series through a car wash. I don’t condone it, it’s definitely a case of do as I say not as I do, and what I say is wash your car by hand using the two bucket method but, when it’s cold and wet and dark and miserable and your car is so dirty that you can barely open the doors or boot and is white so looks about 1000 times dirtier, you get desperate. What’s a girl to do? Pay £3 and take it through the car wash at the local Sainsbury’s, that’s what. I didn’t even choose the drying option because the roads were wet so I figured it was pointless and when I came out of the petrol station shop brandishing my car wash code I discovered it had started raining anyway, rendering it even more pointless. The person in the Merc having a wash and blow dry in front of me looked a bit silly. And you know what? It was worth every penny, all 300 of them. The 1 Series came out looking clean and I could open the doors and boot without getting covered in filth. Also my mum had never been through a car wash before so she was intrigued by the whole affair. Is it wrong to admit that you find car washes a little scary? She didn’t, but I do. I just don’t like the noisy pounding. It’s unsettling. I wouldn’t dream of taking the E39 through but, with its solid white paint, I figure the 120d is less likely to show up scratches and swirl marks.
In other news, the 120d is doing something the 118d didn’t, and that is managing to stay dry inside. The 118d had a chronic moisture problem, with the windscreen absolutely covered in water droplets when the temperature started to drop, which would then freeze on particularly cold nights, and ice on the inside of your windscreen is not something you expect in a brandnew BMW. My Camaro does it, but that’s because it’s terrible at being a car and was built for about 50p. We never did get to the bottom of it, but it wasn’t an isolated case as a few people got in touch with the same problem but now I have a solution that I can guarantee will work 100 per cent: sell your leaky old 1 Series and buy a face-lift. Job done.
CAR: F21 120d M Sport / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 /
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 390
TOTAL MILEAGE: 6435
MPG THIS MONTH: 45.9
COST THIS MONTH: £3 (car wash. Sorry)Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationF21 120d M Sport
You may have noticed that it’s been getting cold recently. In fact the temperature change really snuck up this year; one moment it seemed unseasonably warm for autumn and then suddenly it was very cold indeed and the 120d’s temperature display was showing some very small numbers of a morning.
Partly due to bad weather, a string of busy weekends and thinking that I had plenty of time to get my winters on, I invariably didn’t, meaning I was left with the 1 Series feeling a little light on traction on damp and slippery autumn days. I hastily made arrangements with my local, and really rather excellent, village garage to pop in one Saturday and get it to quickly swap my wheels over. I do have all the gear (trolley jack, torque wrench etc) but I honestly couldn’t be bothered to spend a cold Saturday morning messing around with wheels.
When it came down to winter rubber, I was spoilt for choice as I have both my Conti-dedicated winters from a few years ago, along with my Michelin CrossClimate all-season tyres that I ran on the 118d for about a year or so. I would have preferred to run my Contis, simply because they’d only be performing winter duties, but seeing as the CrossClimates were already mounted on the set of 17s I had been running them on previously I decided that for the sake of simplicity, (and not having to pay to have a set of tyres unmounted and new ones mounted) I would just go with the CrossClimates. I was very impressed with their performance previously so was more than happy to have them on the 120d.
Typically, the weather since having them fitted has been pretty mild again but I’m glad they’re on as it means that when the cold snap does come, which it’s due to any day at the time of writing this, along with the generally grim winter weather I’m fully prepared.
TECHNICAL DATA / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 /
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 677
TOTAL MILEAGE: 6045
MPG THIS MONTH: 52.6
COST THIS MONTH: £10 (getting wheels swapped over)
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationF21 120d M Sport
I was going to say that it’s been a quiet month for the 120d but, having looked at my diary I have realised that it served as transport for a shoot in Berkshire that I’d completely forgotten about and then there was the small matter of a trip to Telford and back for the last big show of the season, so I guess that’s a reasonable amount of activity and miles this month.
With the rear seats folded down, you can fit a lot into the 120d’s rear end but getting to it all can be slightly tricky and you have to attack it from both ends of the car, flipping the front seats forward to try and pull some bits out that way and then half-clambering in through the hatch to get other stuff out that way. I will say that the practicality of my five-door 118d is often missed, be it when I’m out shooting, out shopping or ferrying wheels, tyres or both about. But it’s a small price to pay for the three-door’s far sharper looks and as I don’t do that many things too often that require the use of the car’s entire available load space, it’s not that big a hindrance.
The trip to Telford was an absolute nightmare in both directions, with nothing but traffic, road works and speed limits – it was just generally awful and made me both stressed and angry. The 1 Series was really great, though, and I was genuinely amazed to emerge at the other end after three and a half hours in the car with no aches or pains.
The car isn’t in any way cosseting or luxurious and the seats are sporty and supportive but very far removed from the fanciest 5 or 7 Series offerings. They don’t even have lumbar support, which I’ve always considered almost essential, often experiencing lower back pain in cars without it. But, somehow, they manage to be incredibly comfortable; I guess they are just the right shape for me and sometimes that’s more important than having 200-way adjustment.
The miles and miles of stop-start traffic did make me think that the journey would have been a little more pleasant with an auto and while I lamented the lack of cruise control in my 118d, I now find myself wishing I had Active Cruise Control as it would definitely take the stress out of driving in heavy traffic at varying speeds.
Also, while I’m very pleased to have sat nav as standard in the 120d, it’s not without its flaws; it did its best at trying to get me round the worst of the traffic, but I can’t help but feel that Google Maps on my phone would have done a far better job and had me home a lot more quickly. The sat nav also flashed up ‘Dangerous Traffic Situation’ for a while, which kept appearing on the dash display and which refused to go away, but there was no way for me to actually find out what this meant and where it was on my route. Considering I was in a sea of traffic at the time it was hardly news to me; a quick Google has revealed that it seems to relate to heavy traffic conditions and specifically when there’s been an incident involving another car, but I can’t say that I found it very useful.
/ #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 /
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 753
TOTAL MILEAGE: 5368
MPG THIS MONTH: 49.3
COST THIS MONTH: NilStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationF21 120d M Sport
We’re not allowed to modify our company cars, at least not in a permanent way, which meant that for someone like me, who bought a car to modify while my other modified car was away being further modified, the temptation to fit at least one nonpermanent modification was too great to resist. The easiest of these is a change of wheels.
I do actually like the standard 18s you get on the M Sport, which is not something you can often say these days as most manufacturers, #BMW included, seem to be churning out some truly horrific rims. Sick for sure, but not in the good, street way. If the 120d were mine mine, I’d have probably left them on there but as it’s a company car the thought of kerbing a wheel fills me with dread as it’s not something you can forget about or overcome with a different set of wheels as it has to go back on its original wheels and, really, they need to be pristine. So, with the fear of kerbing hanging over my head and the modding bug nibbling at some other body part I decided to treat the 120d to some new wheels.
As luck would have it a couple of months ago I came across a press release for the latest wheels from AEZ (www.aez-wheels.com). Called ‘the Raise’, they immediately caught my eye because they looked really smart. The twin five-spoke design is similar to that of the standard wheels but the wider spacing and combination of gunmetal and polished surfaces (an all-silver version is also available) gave them an edge and made them look like a more exciting wheel, but not something that would look OTT on a standard car. Best of all, the Raise is readily available and comes in 1 Series fitment so I took that as a sign that I should go ahead and get a set.
When the wheels arrived I have to say that they looked even better than they did in the pictures and I was genuinely impressed. The quality and finish are superb, the gunmetal painted sections have a light metallic flake to them, while the polished sections are diamond cut, which look fantastic when the light hits them. I went for the 8x18-inch ET42 option rather than the more aggressive ET35 fitment, which would make the wheels stick out an additional 7mm; the lower offset also meant that I could run staggered tyres like the standard setup, 225s and 245s front and rear respectively.
With the OE fitment run-flats remaining on the 120d’s standard wheels I needed tyres for my AEZs so I decided to go for something I had prior experience with and which has been enjoying universal praise since its launch: the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 (www.goodyear.eu). In a nutshell, it’s packing some seriously impressive rubbery tech designed to make driving safer and more enjoyable; Reinforce Construction Technology results in a stronger, lightweight construction which means better handling, cornering performance, improved tread wear and fuel efficiency; the new Grip Booster compound uses adhesive resin to increase the tyre’s stickiness, which means better grip for braking and handling on both wet and dry roads; and, finally, Active Braking Technology increases the contact surface and therefore grip under braking, meaning shorter braking distances in both wet and dry conditions. It’s an impressive list of credentials and it explains why this particular rubber donut has been showered with awards from the German motoring press as well as taking second place in evo magazine’s recent and extremely comprehensive tyre test. And if that wasn’t praise enough, I also happen to run the same tyre on my 5.7-litre V8 Chevrolet Camaro, where it’s done an amazing job of taming all the torque the LS1 produces and generates some serious cornering grip, so I figured it would be more than up to the task of handling what the 120d produces.
So, first of all, I think the wheels look fantastic on the 1 Series. The design really suits the car. I like the fact that they don’t look at all out of place on it but also that they look bigger and more dynamic than the slightly more subdued standard wheels did. And, second, I much prefer the way the car feels on the Eagle F1s; run-flats have come a long way, this much is true, but even so they lag behind traditional tyres, especially ultra high performance ones like these. The 120d never felt tied down on the factory tyres, even in dry conditions it felt a little loose beneath you, a little understeery, and not as communicative as you’d like. The Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3s feel so much better, with a lot more grip and the car feels a lot more planted, like it’s really keyed into the road and I feel a lot more confident about pitching it into tight corners at speed. It’s also a little quieter and I’d say the ride has also improved a touch. A winning combination all-round, then.
CAR: #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 / #2016 /
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 675
TOTAL MILEAGE: 4615
MPG THIS MONTH: 46.2
COST THIS MONTH: £1270.40Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationF21 120d M Sport
It’s been another busy month for the #BMW-1-Series , racking up the miles steadily thanks to a number of shoots and shows I’ve been attending, and it’s given me plenty of time to start getting familiar with the 120d. Did I mention I love the auto throttle blipping on downshifts?
Because I really do. It makes the car better to drive on every level and, far from taking away from the driving experience, I’d say it enhances it and it’s actually hard to imagine being without it, even after such a short space of time. On a couple of occasions I have also strayed beyond the lower level of the rev range, where I can normally be found for fuel economy purposes, and subsequently discovered that the 120d is surprisingly rapid when you choose to use the revs rather than low-end torque. I feel a little guilty for not enjoying the hot hatch levels of performance more often, but the 120d’s torque-rich motor is a victim of its own success and there’s little reason to really rev it beyond 2500rpm or so in day-to-day driving.
I’ve not yet had the opportunity to see how well the cargo area copes with a photographer’s demand for space with all their equipment, but I’ve had four 18-inch wheels in the back and my only complaint is the lack of rear doors makes accessing the space available, especially when it comes to removing items, a bit tricky.
The 120d has also impressed me with its fuel economy, even in these early days when the engine is still tight and not operating at its most economical. It’s currently averaging high 40s, creeping over the 50mpg mark on one trip, which is not at all bad considering the very short daily commute it does with me and considering the more powerful engine. I wonder if, when I swap from run-flats to all-season tyres as I plan on doing soon, fuel economy will take a dip as it seemed to do on the 118d? We’ll have to wait and see.
Once upon a time, when BMW first made the fateful switch to run-flat tyres, we on #BMW Car would be constantly inundated with letters from readers complaining about the atrocious ride caused by the combination of run-flats and M Sport suspension. In fact, we would actively discourage readers from spec’ing this combo if possible, or point them in the direction of non-run-flat alternatives. Well, the times they are a-changing, and run-flat technology has moved on significantly over the years meaning that M Sport suspension and run-flat rubber is now a much better combination and arguably the best it’s ever been. The ride is, of course, firm as you would expect from a sport suspension setup and while on undulating roads the 120d does have a tendency to exhibit a sort of pogo-ing behaviour, the rest of the time it feels compliant and nicely planted on the road.
It’s not been a perfect two months, though, as a couple of things have been irritating me. The rain-sensing wipers are as hopeless as they were on the 118d, making it impossible to select a setting that really works, with the wipers either flailing around dementedly when a fine mist descends on the screen, or failing to do anything when it feels like you’re attempting to drive through a lake. My Camaro has what must be about ten different intermittent wiper settings and this makes fine-tuning wiper activity to correspond to rain intensity a breeze. Low tech for the win.
Another complaint I have is to do with the speed-sensitive volume. On the 118d it was fine, if perhaps not all that effective, but on the 120d it has a habit of being very quiet and then SUDDENLY GETTING MUCH LOUDER when it detects a random bit of road noise and then goes quiet again. But it’s not actually much cop when you want it to get louder, like when your brain is starting to drip out of your ears on the M25’s absolutely ridiculously-surfaced and completely deafening south eastern stretch, for example. Maybe some tweaking of the level will yield better results. Finally, I’ve encountered a strange sort of part-throttle hesitation under acceleration; it occurs when you have to either lift off the throttle pedal and go to press on it again or have been travelling at a constant speed and want to accelerate slightly. What happens is, basically, nothing; it’s like for that fraction of a second, which it surely must be but does feel longer, the throttle pedal is disconnected from the engine and you’re pressing down on it but there’s no response.
As I say it only lasts for a split second and the solution is to just add more throttle, but it’s slightly disconcerting and it has been happening regularly. I’ll have to wait and see if it gets better and goes away, or gets worse and needs looking at.
CAR: #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-F20 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW-120d / #BMW-1-Series-F21
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 880
TOTAL MILEAGE: 1870
MPG THIS MONTH: 49.8
COST THIS MONTH: NilStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThere’s a new arrival in the form of an #BMW F20 120d M Sport, the track car has some further surgery, Mark Williams has been testing a Cadillac on holiday and there’s a round up from the Everett fleet.
F21 120d M Sport
So, one month ago I said goodbye to my trusty 118d of three years and said hello to my new 120d M Sport. It was obviously exciting to see the 120d for the first time as it arrived on the back of a trailer and the thrill of getting a new car, be it new or just new to you, never diminishes. First impressions were very good indeed. I’d never owned a white car before and, despite my hand being forced on the colour front, I have no complaints as white really suits the 1 Series, especially in M Sport trim. This, combined with the face-lift styling, really make a big difference in the looks department; while I had grown to love the chubbycheeked and slightly, um, fishy styling of my 118d, the LCI refresh has given the 1 Series a much more modern, dynamic and appealing face and overall look. The narrow headlights, especially in full-LED form as on my car, combined with the angular elements of the M Sport kit make the car look more aggressive and the three-door bodystyle that, once again, I was forced into due to budget constraints, is miles ahead of the frumpy five-door. Not only do you get frameless windows (always sexy) you also get nicely sculpted flanks which give the car a shapely appearance. Twin pipes and smarter rear light clusters finish off a triumphant face-lift. A lot of people at the office and, I wager, in other offices the world over like to chop and change when it comes to company cars so I was slightly worried that opting for the same model would make me feel like I hadn’t changed cars at all. Thankfully, that couldn’t be further from the truth and the interior plays a big part in this, in fact it feels so different to that of the 118d, I sometimes feel I’ve moved up to a different class of car. Being able to afford to tick the M Sport box this time around has arguably made the biggest difference; the steering wheel looks and feels fantastic, the smaller gear knob sits perfectly in the palm (a design so successful it looks identical to that of the E46 Sport models), the silver textured hexagon trim with its blue flashes save the interior from becoming a black abyss and the seats, while no different to those of my 118d in terms of design, look and feel more expensive thanks to their Alcantara side bolsters and thigh support.
The face-lift has brought with it a number of interior changes, too. For example, climate control has replaced the manual air conditioning I had in the 118d and the fuel economy swingometer has made a welcome return to the bottom of the rev counter and (major geek warning) I noticed that the notches you feel when turning the radio volume knob, which has now gained a power symbol and illustrated volume curve, are softer and smoother than on the 118d’s volume knob. The biggest change is without doubt the addition of sat nav, now standard across the range. While it might only be the Business version, with its small screen, I have yet to find any features that are missing from BMW’s sat navlite that would make it feel inadequate.
Full postcode search? Yes. Detailed supplementary arrow view? Yup. Weather? That’s a yes. You do have to work hard to get everything set up, though… ‘Crikey,’ I thought to myself whilst driving home in the dark one evening, ‘that display’s a bit bright, best turn it down.’ Of course, the option to change the night time brightness of the display isn’t in any of the sat nav menus, it’s in the control display menu but what is in the sat nav menu is the option to have the night time map display turned on, which gives you a much darker map with less glare. With no right-hand display pane like you’d find on the Professional nav to flip through various additional display options, you have to find the extra options menu, which then lets you add the very useful detailed turn arrows to the map display. You might think that the screen would start getting cluttered at this point but it’s fine; the arrow panel sits on the right and you only need to see the central or bottom central areas of the map, depending on your preferred view, and this area remains unobstructed at all times.
I know people say that there’s no need for built-in sat nav in cars these days as phone nav is so good, and it is, but it’s still nice to have everything integrated, rather than having a TomTom hanging from your windscreen or your phone strapped to an air vent. It helps that BMW’s HDDbased nav is very good and while I miss being able to simply search for a company or place like I could in Google Maps on my phone and getting directions instantly, the interactive map is great at letting you pinpoint where you want to go when your destination is a little off-piste.
The rest of the spec on my 120d is equally good and while it’s not what you’d call fully-loaded, it brings a lot more kit to the party then the 118d did. Cruise control was my mostmissed feature, the 118d being the only one of my current three-car stable to not have it, and I’ve already been using it lots in my first month with the 120d. My only complaint with the setup is that when you turn it on, the display between the dials says something like ‘Cruise Control ready’ but that means you can’t see the exact speed you’re setting it to until this message disappears as the digital speed read-out is located on the same display, though you can still use the little green LED that whizzes up the side of the speedo. The work-around is to have it turned on all the time, but then you have to drive around with the red LED showing at a random point on the speedo.
Parking sensors are a very welcome addition; perhaps you might think that they’d be redundant on a small car like the 1 Series, but it’s not such a small car these days and judging where the back ends, especially when there’s a low object behind you, is actually really difficult. I’d actually say that reversing my 118d was harder than reversing my Camaro, which is massive in comparison but is very low, so you can see what’s behind you, and also has a low level hoop-style spoiler that you can use to judge where the car ends.
As far as the LED headlights are concerned, the long summer days have meant minimal opportunities to truly appreciate what they are capable of, but first impressions are that they appear to be insanely, almost comically bright and do an incredible job of slicing through the darkness. Another a new feature I love is the auto-blip on downshifts; based on my time spent on Pistonheads, there are plenty of people who hate this function whatever car it may be on, presumably because these people heel and toe all the time everywhere in every single car (school run in the Kia? Heel and toe!), but for the remaining 99.9 per cent of the population it’s an excellent feature. I would try my best to rev match on downshifts when driving the 118d, so the hardest part of driving the 120d initially was remembering that I didn’t need to do that anymore. I have noticed that it doesn’t always work, so I will investigate exactly what parameters are required in order for it to function.
While the leap from 118d to 120d, and with it a jump for 143hp to 190hp, hasn’t actually felt like a massive increase in performance possibly because, at the time of writing, the 120d hasn’t yet broken the 1000-mile mark and is fresh and tight, the switch to the new #B47D20 engine has brought about a massive increase in refinement. Good as the #N47 that preceded it was, it never sounded like anything other than a diesel and was often very clattery and rough. The #B47 is anything but and, from the inside at least, there is virtually no indication that there’s a diesel lump up front. It’s very quiet, smooth and what little noise it does make is really no worse than what you would experience from one of BMW’s current crop of fourcylinder petrols.
As far as fuel economy is concerned, the on-paper figures put the 120d only a fraction behind the 118d, so I figured that would mean similar real-world economy too. Obviously it’s very early days and I would expect economy to improve once the 120d has a few more miles beneath its wheels, but from the 47.7mpg that the last tank yielded, I’d say it was off to a pretty good start.
Incidentally, having covered approximately 12 miles with zero range showing and having squeezed 49-litres of diesel into the tank the next day, the remaining three litres at 47mpg would have given me another 31 miles, which is worth knowing should I find myself playing the fuel light lottery again anytime soon.
DATA #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW-120d
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 990
TOTAL MILEAGE: 990
MPG THIS MONTH: 47.7
COST THIS MONTH: Nil
Standard sat nav gets a big thumb’s up as do revised stero controls and the reappearance of the economy ‘Swingometer’ at the bottom of the rev counter.
Elizabeth is pleased with her new 120d M Sport and has been delving through iDrive menus and pushing all the buttons to find out what’s changed over her old 118d Sport.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.